Salesforce has a well-established green team called Earthforce. We are a group of employee volunteer champions dedicated to promoting and celebrating environmental responsibility. Our members live green at work and at home while inspiring their networks to do the same. We currently have over 30 active member groups at offices around the world, and we host quarterly activities and ongoing learning campaigns. In addition, we work with local communities to create a greener world for all.

Participating in your company's green team can open up several benefits for both yourself and your company, and, of course, the environment. Those range from leadership opportunities to connecting with your coworkers, and affecting positive change. For your company, it increases brand value, reputation, and business, helps attract and retain talent, and saves the company money.

If you feel passionate about sustainability and conservation like we do, and you don't yet have a green team at your company, follow these 5 steps that helped the Earthforce team at Salesforce get to where we are today.

1) Organize a Group of Like-minded Individuals

The first step is the most challenging. You feel passionate about environmental issues, and you see potential for improvement in your coworkers, and the company overall – but you can't make that happen alone. So talk and listen to your coworkers, connect with those who care, and raise awareness. Then take the first formal step by opening up an internal communication channel, like a public group in Chatter or a similar chat tool. Give it a short and punchy name (like Earthforce!), and invite people you think will be interested. Organize a first meeting, or a brown-bag Lunch & Learn. Take advantage of global events like Earth Day to drum up interest. Don't be put off if only a few people show up – be prepared to start off small.

2) Create Realistic Goals

After taking the first step, you tend to expect progress fast. But most likely it's going to take longer. Set realistic expectations by creating realistic goals. Not having defined goals will make it difficult for you to measure what you have achieved. However short and simple at first, start by trying to formulate the Vision you have for the team and the year, the Values you want to exhibit, the Methods you will employ, the Obstacles you foresee, and the Measures you want to rate our success against. This “V2MOM”, as we call it at Salesforce, gets revisited and fine-tuned regularly, throughout the year. It helps to set achievable goals, and adapt as you go along.

3) Communicate, Engage, Organize

Make sure to broadcast what you are doing to the larger organization. Posting your information to Chatter or other company social network. Make your posts compelling and engaging and have fun with it. Invite guest speakers from local non-profits, or community organizations, to speak at office events. Organize screenings of films and documentaries on sustainability issues. And whether your company has a formal volunteer program or not, organize volunteering opportunities like weeding, planting trees, and beach clean-ups. Don't forget to take pictures and share them! We found this to be most effective because people like to share what they've done and feel connected to others in the organization.

4) Get Corporate Support

You can take visibility and engagement to the next level in your organization if you find leaders to support your mission. Especially at smaller companies, this step could come before or alongside Step 3; in the case of Earthforce, it came after we had a well-established team. Start off by identifying which executives might be passionate about sustainability. Set up a meeting, make a pitch and be sure to end the presentation with a concrete and achievable ask so the executive knows exactly how he or she can help.

5) Drive Adoption and Growth

Once established, it's very important to keep driving adoption of green principles among your employees, and grow the impact your team is having. We introduce Earthforce, and what we do, to new employees at new hire orientation in order to catch them on their very first day. We also look beyond Salesforce to learn and grow our ecosystem – we reach out to local non-profits to volunteer and help them raise awareness of what they do. We are working to build relationships with green teams from other companies – to learn and share, volunteer together, and combine efforts at events like Earth Day, or Bike-to-Work-Day. Keeping thinking of new and innovative ways to get your message across, and the possibilities are endless!

Getting involved in a green team is rewarding, exciting, and fun. Plus, you're doing it for a great cause. Now go ahead and get started!

Learn more about how Salesforce puts our people and our planet first

This post is part of an Earth Month blog series, and is based on a presentation given at Dreamforce 2016 by Nina Saeang, Nils Koop, and Roland Meyer. You can watch the session on demand.